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When Crowley had snapped them back home, Dean had hoped it meant he wouldn’t have to deal with the odd pair until the former demon decided to cash in his favor. He had to admit he hoped the favor would be forgotten; if they’d lived on earth so long, the lifespan of a hunter must be short to them.

No such luck.

First they’d showed up in Bobby’s house – Bobby’s house – and poked through his books.  Then Dean started receiving prank calls.  It didn’t matter how many times he changed his phone number, the calls found him.  He’d suspected they were all from Crowley, but it was confirmed for him when he heard an exasperated “is this necessary” from the background.

Now Dean was seething, fists tight around the Impala’s steering wheel as he drove. His knuckles were turning white, but he didn’t care. Bobby had called to inform the brothers the occult pair were at his house again.  The older hunter sounded more irritated than anything but thought it best for the boys to return. He didn’t say why.

“Dean,” Sam started, “if he asks for anything too insane, we can figure a way out of it.  We always do.”

The older Winchester gritted his teeth and didn’t respond.  He couldn’t find a way to make Sam understand that he didn’t there was a way out of this one.  They didn’t know what Crowley and Aziraphale were capable of – especially now that Dean had managed to get on both their bad sides.

Hey Cas, Crowley and Aziraphale are at Bobby’s.  We could really use you if they want trouble.

It was a quick prayer and Dean really didn’t think the angel would show; he’d been pretty off the grid recently.

He whipped the Impala into Bobby’s driveway with a little more aggression than was probably necessary and he silently apologized to his baby as he all but jumped from the car and stormed inside, Sam hot on his heels.

“Oh, hello!” Aziraphale greeted them, turning from where he’d obviously been picking through the books again.  Bobby was seated at his desk, grumpily talking into his phone.  From the sound of it he was playing an FBI supervisor and the person on the other end wasn’t cooperating.

“What do you want?” Dean asked, stopping in the doorway and scanning the room for Crowley.

The former angel shrugged and selected a book.  “I merely wanted to look at some of these books again, and I brought a few for Mr. Singer to look through,” he nodded to the small stack of books on the corner of the desk. 

Sam’s brow furrowed. “You’re letting him keep your books?”

Aziraphale looked scandalized.  “Of course not!” he glanced at his books again, as though they were his child and he needed to make sure they knew he still loved them.

“So what,” Dean said, “you’re just going to stay here until he reads them all?”

“That was the idea,” Crowley’s voice came from the other doorway from the kitchen.  Dean jumped and glared at the former demon, who was now leaning against the doorjamb.

Well, leaning was maybe the wrong term.  He somehow managed to look like he way laying down vertically. To nobody’s surprise, he was wearing his glasses, even inside.

Dean lifted his hands.  “Uh uh, no way.”

Crowley lifted an eyebrow and grinned at them.

Bobby finished his call then.  “Well I agreed to let them stay,” he grumped, eyeing the stack of books.  If Dean didn’t know better, he’d say the older hunter was almost giddy.  “Shouldn’t be more than a couple days.”

“A couple of-” Dean cut himself off with a huff.  “Bobby, can I talk to you outside for a minute?”

Crowley’s grin widened and Aziraphale shot him a disapproving look, but Bobby stood and followed the older Winchester to the porch.  Sam joined them after flashing the odd couple an apologetic smile.

“Are you crazy?” Dean asked in a low voice the moment the door closed.  “Letting them stay here? You know they don’t sleep, right?”

Bobby glared at him.  “Of course I do, ya idjit.  Did you even look at the books they brought? They’re the kind of lore any hunter would sell their soul for!” he paused.  “Well, almost.”

Sam perked up.  “Really?”

Bobby shrugged.  “I bet if you asked he’d let you read through them too, but better be nice.”

Dean growled.  “I don’t like it.”

“Good thing it’s my house and you don’t have to like it. I said they could stay.”

Dean stared for another moment before throwing his hands up in defeat and stormed back to the Impala.

“Where are you going?” Sam asked.

“Alcohol,” Dean grumped.  “Lots of alcohol.”

______________

Turns out lots of alcohol was both a great and terrible idea.

Crowley, it would seem, was a huge fan of alcohol, and though he seemed to think Dean’s selection wasn’t very good quality – he wasn’t entirely wrong – he was more than happy to grab a glass and drink with the hunter, much to the chagrin of both Sam and Aziraphale.

Sam had been granted permission to read the books as well, with the condition he was careful. Dean had laughed and informed the former angel that Sam would handle any and all text like it was original bible manuscript. 

“Oh,” Aziraphale had said, “I do have several of those, too.”

Dean was pretty sure both Bobby and Sam had started drooling.

The idea that his brother and father-figure were making best friends with a creature they couldn’t even put a name one – one that Dean had sort of created – was enough to drive him straight for the whisky.

That’s when Crowley had appeared, taking the bottle straight from his hands and pouring a second glass.  “Good idea,” he’d said, sliding into the hard kitchen chair and lounging across it like it was a couch.

Dean glared at the man-shaped being for a moment before snatching the bottle back and refilling his own glass, which he’d knocked back in one go.

Crowley elected not to say anything and patiently waited for the hunter to fill his glass again too.  Dean reluctantly did so.  “Why are you here?”

The former demon shrugged as he downed his drink.  “Aziraphale likes Bobby.”

Dean grunted and refilled their glasses again.  At least Crowley didn’t seem interested in calling in his favor, and he wasn’t afraid to drink. Then again, he had yet to meet a demon that didn’t care for alcohol.  “Do you drink often?” he asked, watching the other man down his fourth glass of whisky.

“Pretty frequently, yeah,” Crowley clunked his glass rather loudly on the table. “One of our favorite past times,” he gestured between himself and Aziraphale, who they could see through the door.  The former angel looked up long enough to flash a smile at his partner before returning to the book he was currently reading.

“He drinks too?”

Though his eyes were hidden, Dean could feel Crowley’s gaze return to him.  “Yeah; why wouldn’t he?”

Dean shrugged.  “Cas doesn’t drink.  He says he can taste the molecules, or something like that.  He doesn’t find food very tasteful.”

“Trenchcoat does seem to have a bit of a stick up his butt,” Crowley mused, turning to eye the other selection of beverages on the counter.

The hunter bristled, the need to defend his friend rising in his chest, but he decided against it.  “So Aziraphale doesn’t have that problem?”

“No. He actually likes food quite a lot,” Crowley hummed, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the table.  “Eating is one of his favorite past times.”

“What about you?”

Crowley shook his head, looking back toward the trio reading. “Not my personal favorite, but he likes it.”

Dean glanced between the odd pair, chugged another glass of whisky, and poured himself another. “So you two… Aziraphale said you’re together?”

Crowley’s head snapped back around to face him.  He considered him for a moment before slowly nodding. 

“How long?”

“Depends on what you mean by ‘together’,” Crowley knocked back another drink.

“Together… like, dating, or something,” Dean said awkwardly.

“Only about thirty years,” the former demon’s mouth quirked up into a slight grin, still staring at Dean, “but we’ve been friends for more than six millennia.”

Only? Then again, Dean figured six millennia was a very long time, so thirty years must not seem very big.  It was the exact reason he’d hoped Crowley wouldn’t get around to calling in his favor. Unfortunately, the pair seemed determined to insert themselves into the hunters’ lives.

Might as well make his peace with it.

“Why did it take so long?” he asked before he could think. 

The expression that took over the demon’s face immediately had Dean snapping his mouth shut and mumbling an apology. Crowley reached up and took his glasses off.  Dean swallowed but was unable to look away from the bright yellow serpent’s eyes. “Take a wild guess.”

Dean finally dropped his eyes, gaze landing on his glass. “Right. What changed?”

The former demon made an odd noise Dean couldn’t identify in the back of his throat and leaned back in his chair, but his eyes never left Dean’s face. “Armageddon.  The break from our respective Head Offices meant we no longer had to worry about someone finding us out.”

A pit formed in Dean’s stomach.  He swirled the liquid in his glass.  “How do you think Heaven would react now?”

Instead of downing his whisky in one go, Crowley sipped at it.  “Dunno.”

The hunter was silent for a second, still staring at his drink.

“Why the interest?” Crowley’s voice was amused as he sipped again.  

Dean shrugged.

“It wouldn’t have anything to do with Castiel, would it?”

The hunter froze, heat rising in his cheeks.  “I don’t- what- I’m straight?” he finally spluttered.

“Mhmm,” Crowley downed the rest of his glass and beckoned for the bottle, which Dean passed over with a scowl. “Funny thing about Rising, even part way…” Crowley was still staring at Dean. “I can sense more… angelic emotions. There’s still the darker things like lying anb d lust and greed, but now I can feel the stuff Aziraphale is always going on about.”  He looked away just long enough to refill his glass and set the bottle on the table before his unsettling gaze was back on Dean.

The hunter didn’t like where this was going.  He swallowed his entire glass, refilled it, and drank it all down again.

“Love, for example,” the former demon said nonchalantly.

Dean sprayed the mouthful of whisky he’d just taken across the table.  His eyes watered at the burn of it coming out his nose, and he was vaguely aware of the attention drawn from the library.

“Crowley, be nice,” came Aziraphale’s admonishing voice.

Dean realized the former demon was laughing. He shrugged, sending his partner a fond look.  “Okay, okay,” he waved him off before slapping the struggling hunter’s back until he stopped coughing. “Sorry,” he said, though he didn’t sound remotely apologetic.

Dean hmphed, finished draining his latest glass of alcohol, and clanked it down onto the table before pushing his chair back.

“Come on, don’t be like that,” Crowley said, lounging back and hooking one foot around Dean’s chair leg to keep him from getting far enough back to stand. The former demon snapped and a large glass bottle appeared in his hand. “Let’s have some good whisky, shall we?”

Dean eyed the bottle, which appeared to be high-end, and settled back with a sigh.

What the hell.  Might as well get drunk.

_______________________

Dean stumbled into the kitchen, squinting against the early morning light.  His head pounded, and he was pretty sure he was still at least a little bit drunk.  He couldn’t remember having had so much alcohol in one sitting before – and that was saying something. 

If there was one thing he could say for Crowley, it’s that the man could drink, and had good taste to boot.

Out of the corner of his eye Dean saw Aziraphale, still settled back on Bobby’s couch reading. Dean did a double-take; there was something large and black resting across the seat, and the former angel seemed to be absentmindedly stroking part of it in his lap.

The hunter wandered closer with his glass of water, squinting harder to make out the dark shape. When he realized what it was, Dean let out an embarrassing sound something like a shriek and fell backwards, spilling his water all over himself. Aziraphale started slightly, looking up at the hunter with raised eyebrows.

The snake – because it was a snake; a huge black snake – lifted its head slightly and opened its eyes to give Dean a surprisingly annoyed look.

Heavy footsteps thundered down the stairs as Sam and Bobby burst into the room, both still in their pajamas and clearly freshly awoken.  Bobby was wielding a shotgun.

“What the fuck is that?” Dean managed hoarsely.

“That’s a snake,” Sam said, dumbfounded.

“Sssserpent, actually,” the snake hissed, regarding the hunters with passionless yellow eyes.  “And I don’t apresssssiate being woken up.”

Crowley?” Sam’s jaw dropped.

The snake blinked.

“Of course it’s Crowley,” Aziraphale said, running his fingers down the snake’s back again. Crowley’s eyes closed halfway, which was an odd look given snakes didn’t have traditional eyelids.

Except this one, apparently.

“He can turn into a snake?” Sam said.

Ssssserpent,” Crowley corrected again.

“Of course he can,” Aziraphale looked up from his book.  “He is the Serpent of Eden after all.”

“That was literal?” Sam asked.

“I did say he was a serpent,” Cas said from the kitchen, causing all three humans to jump and whip around to face him.  The two beings on the couch just glanced up at him without interest.

“What the hell, Cas?” Dean glared at his friend.  “I prayed for you yesterday.

“I was busy,” Cas snapped before looking back at the pair.  “Why are you here?”

The snake’s tale twitched.  “We keep getting that question.  It’s almost like you think we’re going to attack you without provocation or something.”

Dean felt heat rising in his face and Sam shuffled his feet. Cas just scowled.

“We just wanted to visit,” Aziraphale said primly.  Crowley gave him a look and the former angel sighed.  “I wanted to visit,” he amended.

Cas scowled for a moment more, glanced at Dean, and promptly vanished again.

Fucking angels, Dean thought.

Crowley’s head snapped to face him again, and with the expression he was giving the hunter Dean almost wondered if he’d said it out loud. Crowley winked and the elder Winchester swallowed.

He stayed frozen on the floor for a minute, staring at the giant fucking snake, before realizing he was soaked, still had a hangover, and Cas – the asshole – wasn’t coming back.  He slowly climbed to his feet, groaning and rubbing his temples. “I can’t deal with this while I have a hangover.”

The snake – Crowley – returned his gaze to the elder Winchester and blinked.  Suddenly Dean’s head was perfectly clear and the headache was gone.  He stood stunned.  “Um, thanks?”

“No problem,” Crowley hissed before lowering his head back into Aziraphale’s lap and closing his eyes as the former angel returned to stroking him. 

“Right,” Dean muttered, watching them for another moment before turning back to the kitchen.  “Guess I’ll make breakfast. Pancakes, anyone?”

Bobby grumbled something about going back to bed, but Sam joined his brother in the kitchen.  “They’re really not that bad,” he said quietly.

Dean hmphed but didn’t disagree.  Other than the jibe about Cas – which was maybe a little truer than the hunter wanted to admit – Crowley hadn’t been a bad drinking partner. “Yeah, well,” he glanced back at them in the other room, “it wouldn’t be bad to have them around sometimes.”

Sam studied his brother but wisely said nothing else and merely helped make breakfast.

Maybe if they could make friends, Crowley wouldn’t ask for anything too serious. Just this once, Dean thought things might turn out okay.